How long have you been writing, and what made you decide to start writing fan fiction?
I've been writing since I was about nine years old. It seemed like a very natural thing to do, and I would scribble down stories in a notebook. At one point, I had several chapters of a ghost story entitled "The Pink Lady." (Oh, stop laughing, I was nine.) Those notebooks were
I started writing fanfic because I had an idea for a story, and the idea just wouldn't go away. I'd read several fanfics, and I rather naively thought, "I can do that, too!" So I jumped into it and have been writing fanfic since.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration? Do other people ever suggest the ideas for your stories?
I've written for several challenges and those prompts definitely belonged to someone else, I just used them to spark a story idea. As for the rest of my ideas, I usually start wondering, "What if this situation happened to Character X? How would they react?" It generally goes from there.
What draws you to a particular fandom, character or couple? Is there anything in particular, or any common threads, that explain your interest?
I enjoy writing older man/younger woman stories. There's something about that dynamic that intrigues me, and I've explored that in three different fandoms so far. The inherent power issues, the way that people change and their relationships evolve is very interesting to me.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about writing their first fanfic?
Outline your story so that you'll know where you're going. Even if you choose not to write an outline, mentally going over the story from start to finish is a tremendous help. Have someone that you trust proofread your story and then listen to what they tell you. If they don't understand something in your story, the odds are that other readers won't, either.
Remember that you can't please everyone and you shouldn't try. There are going to be people who enjoy your story and people who don't. Write it to the best of your ability and remember that opinions are subjective.
What do you find most and least enjoyable about writing fan fic?
I enjoy entertaining people, and knowing that someone liked what I wrote is what I find most enjoyable. The least enjoyable is the fandom politics that seem to come along with writing fanfic, particularly in a very large fandom.
Do you set a specific goal with each chapter of a multi-chapter story?
I usually set a rough goal for the breaking point of a chapter. I try to find what seems like a natural breaking point (change of in-story time, change of point of view,) and I believe in stopping a chapter on a note that will leave the reader wanting to read more without resorting to a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter.
Do you find love scenes more difficult to write than other types of scenes?
Oh, yes. Very much so. Besides worrying about the dreaded purple prose, there's the physical logistics of it. You don't want someone reading the story and wondering when Character A sprouted a third hand. But the most stressful part for me is trying to make certain that I've conveyed the pertinent emotional issues as well as the physical ones. Without those emotions, a love scene just won't work.
What do you do with snippets of story or scenes that you write, but that don't make it into the fanfic? Do you save them? Delete them?
I keep all of them. When I start working on a story, I automatically make three folders. I keep the outline and timeline in one folder, the working story in another, and the cut scenes or bits and pieces in another. Sometimes, I never use those deleted scenes, but... sometimes, I do.
Was there ever an instance where you had solid ideas for a story but the characters refused to cooperate? If so, what did you do?
Yes, there have been several occasions where I thought the ideas were good, but the characters just refused to cooperate. Usually, I leave the ideas languishing in their folders and go back to prod at them occasionally to see if anything has changed.
Usually, I've found that if the characters don't want to play, the story idea needs to be modified.
Have you ever been flamed or received negative feedback regarding your stories? How do you handle it?
I've received negative feedback and, after my initial "Oh woe!" reaction, I take a good look at what they're saying -- usually they have a valid point -- and I make corrections and thank them for leaving feedback.
I've received one flame. However, since I knew who left it and why, I ignored it.
What do you look for when you read a fan fiction story?
Entertain me and I'm yours. ;) I read a wide variety of genres and all I ask is that it be entertaining. That usually means a new spin on an old cliché or a different way of viewing a familiar situation.
What was your first fanfic story? What was it like to post your first story?
My first fanfic story was written under a different pen name for The X-Files fandom, and there's a reason that I've since left that pen name far behind. While I'll always have a certain fondness for that story since it was my first posted fic, it pretty much sucked. ;)
Posting the story was nerve-wracking, complete with sweaty palms and dry mouth. My finger hovered over the enter key for a very long time before I finally pressed it. I forced myself to turn off the computer and go to bed. When I woke up the next morning, to my delight, I'd received reviews, and a monster was born.
How did you go about creating an original character? What are your thoughts on original characters in fanfic?
Since I knew what their actions and motivations were going to be within the plot, it was easy to flesh out their backgrounds. I asked myself what sort of person would do this, and from there I made up entire backgrounds for them, from their appearance to their childhood to their adult lives and relationships. I ended up with far more information than I ever used within the story.
I may be in the minority, but I don't mind original characters in fanfic stories. I enjoy reading a well-written OC. I've seen the label "Mary Sue" assigned to any original character, and I believe that's a fallacy. In my opinion, the real difference between a "Mary Sue" and a good OC is whether or not the reader cares about the original character and about what happens to them. Once the writer has pulled that off, the rest is easy. ;)
How do you choose a title for your stories?
I try to choose titles that were a word or phrase used in the story that I feel sums up an important plot point or aspect of the story. Although, I've also been known to browse through my favorite quotations for ideas.
How has your writing evolved since you first began? Has it become easier with experience or more challenging?
I think it's become both easier and more challenging. It's easier because some of the lessons that I've learned in writing are starting to become second nature, but it's more challenging because some of the other lessons haven't become second nature, and I'm much more aware of the various pitfalls and stereotypes than I used to be.
What is the best advice you have ever received in regard to writing?
I lucked into becoming a member of a very supportive X-Files writing list, and one of the first pieces of advice that I ever received was to read what I'd written out loud. It makes it easier to find problems in pacing or dialog, and it slows down your brain so that it doesn't automatically fill in the blanks when you've inadvertently left out a word such as "the," "and" or "of," etc.
How much research do you do before writing a story? How do you decide what to use and what to make up?
I generally do a great deal of research when it involves locations that I've never actually visited, or activities in which I've never participated. I'll visit websites, look at pictures from on-line travel diaries, and nag my friends for the inside scoop.
When I included fencing as a subplot in one story, I ended up with approximately thirty pages of notes on clothing, swords, stance, scoring, etc. I also watched clips from fencing videos. I didn't use all the information, but I did feel more comfortable in discussing fencing in the fic.
Are there things you won't write or include in your stories?
I won't write consensual sexual situations that involve young children. Sexual abuse can be a valid and even necessary part of a particular story, but presenting sex between young children, or between a young child and an adult, as consensual is something that I refuse to write.
What is the writing process like for you? Do you revise as you write, or do you prefer to get a first draft down first, and then revise?
I generally revise as I write. I would probably write a lot faster if I could simply write and place a question mark or some other indicator in the sections where I need to go back and fill in names or details. Unfortunately, seeing that question mark distracts me to the point that I can't continue until it has been changed to the proper name, location, descriptive detail, etc.
After I complete that scene or chapter, I'll let it "rest" for a day or two before going back and starting the hardcore revision.
What challenges do you set for yourself as a writer?
To improve and to continue to improve.
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